Lily Allen delights at the House of Blues

A review of Lily Allen at the House of Blues on April 19, 2009

, Staff

British pop tart Lily Allen is a rare breed who compounds serious vocal talent with a stage presence that makes you feel like you’re hanging with your best friend at a bar, slugging beers and bitching about the world.

In the homestretch of her North American tour in support of her new album It’s Not Me, It’s You, the tabloid princess delighted fans with her infamously crude and unapologetic charm Sunday night at the House of Blues on Lansdowne Street, celebrating the Patriots Day long weekend with another British invasion.

“Hello Boston! I wanted to make an effort. I’ve got my ‘red socks’ on,” she said in her thick accent of the red fishnets that kept slipping down her thighs. “They keep falling down so excuse me for pulling up my fucking granny stockings,” she said before instructing a band member to get electrical tape from off stage, which she used to hold them up.

Famous for her fashion faux pas and a vulgar tongue, she wore a sideways ball cap and a matching tight-red one piece, bearing a new figure but the same old attitude (she’s one of the few people in the world who can get away with telling pop royalty Elton John, to “fuck off” on national television).& Supported by a four-piece band including bass, guitar, drums and keys, a simple backdrop with “Lily” written in different sized letters provided an unembellished aesthetic, a perfect balance for her personality-packed performance.

Opening with “Never Gonna Happen”, the cheeky Brit set the tone for what would be a fun, light-hearted show with witty lyrics and a lovable attitude completely stripped of censorship. The performance lasted over an hour and most of the set was comprised of songs from her latest album, It’s Not Me, It’s You, released stateside on February 10. The list included songs like “Chinese”, “22” and “Him”, which Allen said is about “the man upstairs, G-O-D, who does a pretty good job. Or not, depending on how you look at it.”&

She dedicated her next song to all of the new couples in the audience who “still like each other” and cast a pessimistic shadow over the crowd that received a few laughs when she quite bluntly said, “It’s not going to last. It never does,” followed by a devilish but girly laugh. This segued into “Who’d Have Known”, also off It’s not Me.& Sidestepping from her current album, Allen played the popular “LDN” off her 2006 debut, Alright, Still, which received a surge of excitement and wild dancing; a result of the familiarity of the song. The crowd, a mix of all ages and fewer Lily Allen wanna-be’s than I’d have imagined, was in the palm of her hands. Without pause she flawlessly transitioned right into the techno beats from another dance-hit “Back to the Start”, going back to her new album.

In bizarre and unpredictable Lily Allen fashion she put the music on hold and asked for two volunteers from the crowd. To respect Boston tradition, she brought out a table and two girls for a Boston Baked Bean eating competition that didn’t go as smoothly as she had planned. The reluctant girls didn’t eat the beans and Allen responded by saying “Eat those fucking beans, bitch. You girls are (expletive). I would have eaten those fucking beans.” After the interesting display, which she said had been done in Philly the previous night with cheese steaks, Allen played “Not Fair”, a favorite of the night with brutally honest lyrics that could make a man blush. The song bleeds with girl-power and describes a guy who is otherwise perfect but terrible in the bedroom. She sings, “There’s just one thing getting in the way/When we go up to bed you’re just no good/It’s such a shame.”

Allen said “Fuck You” was her last song…"supposedly" and the crowd’s energy peaked with middle fingers in the air every time she sang the chorus, which goes something like, “Fuck you, fuck you very much.” She then disappeared offstage with her band, and the “Li-ly” chant only lasted minutes before she re-emerged in a new wardrobe, a long t-shirt with a giant red Boston Lobster on the front. Allen played an encore of “Smile”, her most radio-friendly single to date, and closed with her current single called “The Fear”, which takes a stab at Hollywood and becoming famous.&

Despite the shenanigans and comedic elements of her show, it would be remiss not to note her powerful vocal talent. The cutesy pop star sang so sweetly that she made songs like “Fuckk You” sound like a nursery rhyme. Her second album blends different styles of music and is a confirmation that Allen isn’t just a one-hit-wonder with a potty mouth and an edgy style. Her self-proclaimed “wicked pissa” show at the House of Blues proves she’s the full package and will stand firmly on the pop landscape for a long time to come.&

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